Liverpool fans fume at European Super League involvement as flags and banners removed from Kop and owners branded ‘disgraceful’ but Jurgen Klopp pleads ‘don’t blame the players’
Liverpool fans are making it clear just how unhappy they are at the club’s involvement the newly-formed European Super League.
Supporters’ group Spion Kop 1906 have announced they are removing all their banners and flags from the Kop in protest at the club’s ‘disgraceful’ decision to sign up to the new breakaway competition.
Liverpool, along with Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Man City, Manchester United and six other European clubs, have announced plans to form the ESL, which would rival the Champions League and represent a seismic shake-up of the game.
In response to the news, Spion Kop 1906 – which organise flags, banners and displays on the Kop – declared they can “no longer give our support to a club which puts financial greed above integrity of the game.
“We’ve been in contact with the club today to make it clear we want all the banners and the flags all taken down as soon as possible. We’re taking our support off the table from now,” read a statement to The Athletic.
“It’s disgraceful and absolutely disgusting what the owners have done. We don’t know how it’s got this far without fans being consulted.
“They have sold their soul. No Liverpool fan could get on board with this Super League.”
That prompted a reply from Jurgen Klopp on Monday night, with the German declaring Liverpool was “much more than some decisions” and fans and the team were the most important part of the game.
“We have to make sure that really nothing gets in between that,” Klopp said: “I heard we took banners down at Anfield but I don’t understand that because the players didn’t do anything wrong.
“The boys didn’t do anything wrong apart from not winning all football games. I really want to make sure that everyone knows that.
“When I am involved in things and I take the criticism easily, but my boys – I don’t think they have to take it as well.”
But one Liverpool fan made clear just how strong the ill-feeling is around the club right now as he declared on talkSPORT he will ‘one hundred million per cent’ stop supporting them if they continue to be involved in the European Super League plans.
In a passionate call with Jim White, Simon Jordan and Danny Murphy on talkSPORT, Reds follower Anthony said: “Get our flags off the Kop! The Kop belongs to us… not FSG!
“They can go and put us in whatever league they want, but 95 per cent of fans love this club as much as they love anything else, it’s all we’ve got.
“This is our game, not theirs.”
How the European Super League will work
It will be a new European competition between 20 top clubs
AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as the inital 12 founders
Three more founding clubs will join while a further five teams will qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season
Games will be played in midweek and all clubs will remain in their domestic leagues
There will be two groups of 10 clubs each, playing home and away fixtures within the group each year
The top three in each group will automatically qualify for the quarter-finals
Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions
A two-leg knockout format will then be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue
Asked if he would walk away from Liverpool if the club continued to go forward with plans to play in the European Super League, Anthony said: “One hundred million per cent!
“It will be the biggest thing I’ve ever had to do within sport. I’d walk away from Liverpool Football Club.
“If they do that to us, all the fans will walk away. I don’t want to play Real Madrid and Barcelona every week!
“What happens to the derby? What happens to the top four?”
Liverpool fans have also begun to hang banners outside the gates of Anfield calling on owners Fenway Sports Group to abandon their involvement in the Euro Super League project.
One reads ‘Shame on you, RIP LFC’, while a vintage shirt has been placed on gates with a message written on the front declaring ‘FSG Out’.
Meanwhile, former Liverpool midfielder Murphy warned owners FSG they risk ruining their reputation among fans – less than a year after the club won their first title in 30 years.
He told talkSPORT: “The owners have to be very, very careful.
“Walking up to Anfield and thinking they’re part of this wonderful family and they’ve had success because ‘we’re in charge and we’ve put this in and we’ve put that in’… that’ll come tumbling down quite quickly if they carry on down this path.
“They could think they can turn up at Anfield and not be in the same position as the West Ham owners – if not worse.
“They could be alienated from the club quite quickly. More quickly than they came into the club, they’d be gone.
“They may think they’re not because they’re powerful and have got money, but I’m telling you, they won’t be there long if they feel the intimidation and disgruntlement of the supporters.”